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Has anybody transitioned from newspapers to technical writing?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Jay Sherman, Nov 22, 2008.

  1. Jay Sherman

    Jay Sherman Member

    I'm curious because it seems like a good way to be able to make a living with writing and/or editing. Technical writers starting off make ~$40,000 (which is nearly double what I make now). Only thing is, I keep looking at these ads and very few of them say 0-1 years experience. I assume places want relevant experience and that sports journalism isn't entirely relevant to what they want, but will I get laughed at for applying for places that say 1-2 years if I've been in the journalism world for 1-2 years?

    Also, you PR people, where do you go to find PR jobs? I'm within 1-2 hours of three major metropolitan cities and I just don't know what to search on the job hunting websites (i.e. Monster or CareerBuilder).

    Thanks, I'll hang up and listen. ;D
  2. SixToe

    SixToe Active Member

    I have an old friend who transitioned into tech writing about 15 years ago after a short, but fun, stint in sports writing.

    He never looked back and is doing very well today financially and mentally. I believe he figured, correctly, the people wanted a solid writer instead of a techno-nerd who couldn't put together nouns and verbs.

    Give it a shot. All they can do is tell you no and maybe explain why.
  3. Johnny Dangerously

    Johnny Dangerously Well-Known Member

    It's a very different type of writing, but it's worth investigating. Not everyone can make the transition, but explore it. If it's a good fit for you, you'll do well.
  4. spnited

    spnited Active Member

    I hate the word "transitioned." Transition is a noun, not a verb.

    (Yes, I'm a grumpy old editor)
  5. FileNotFound

    FileNotFound Well-Known Member

    Part of my job includes technical writing. It in fact is incredibly creative, if you approach it in the right way. It does require a very structured approach, which is significantly different from having to write 15 inches at courtside in 15 minutes.
  6. accguy

    accguy Member

    A guy at my paper left for a technical writing gig. Seems to be doing just fine with it.

    In terms of moving into PR, my advice is to network like crazy. Do informational interviews. Talk to people. Etc. Get a Linkedin profile and search your network.

    A website that few people talk about, but I think is pretty good is indeed.com. It's an aggregator and is pretty good.
  7. Jay Sherman

    Jay Sherman Member

    Thanks guys. Sorry spnited :p I just see that a lot of these places require 1-2 years or 2-5 years of experience and I don't know how you get that experience if nobody's hiring. And I'm pretty clueless about breaking into PR, but it seems like something that you'd rarely have the same day twice. Any more info is much appreciated.
  8. NoOneLikesUs

    NoOneLikesUs Active Member

    Screw the requirements. You're a writer. Throw your name into the hat. What's the worst that can happen?
  9. Jay Sherman

    Jay Sherman Member

    Nothing, really, I'm just curious about it.
  10. JackReacher

    JackReacher Well-Known Member

    You're right Jay, most companies look for several years experience. However, it's probably advantageous to call up a company and talk to an HR person. Just get a feel for what they look for when hiring and ask how you can shape your resume, cover letter, etc. to better fit the job.

    Most companies love former journalists for these jobs. It's all about finding the right company and the right job. Call around. Ask questions.
  11. Smasher_Sloan

    Smasher_Sloan Active Member

    I know a bunch of people who have moved into PR, and in just about every case it's been because they had some inside tip or contact on the job.
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